Ordering New Menu Items Off iPads At STACKED: Food Well Built

Tanayas Table Stacked iPad Pink Cocktail

I still remember the time I got to treat my family and friends to a dinner out after landing a new job. We decided to keep it local, opting to go to STACKED: Food Well Built.

I was excited to show them how they could customize their own dishes on the nifty iPads at this hi-tech spot by the Cerritos mall. A few years ago, it was an even newer concept, so it was extra fun to see our culinary creations come to life.

My family loved the experience, and ever since that day I’ve had an extra special association with the STACKED in Cerritos. Thus, you can imagine how enthusiastic I was about getting an invite to a media dinner they were hosting, with new menu items.

Tanayas Table Stacked Burger

The new Short Rib Sandwich, with an egg on it.

I tried the short rib sandwich with horseradish aioli off their new sandwich section of the menu, and even added an egg to it… because you can do that at a place like this.

The food is so customizable that co-owner Paul Motenko told me they even have 139 gluten-free options, across all categories of their menu! There really is something for everyone here.

It’s quite the thrill to build your own mac ‘n cheese burger, top your pizza with pastrami, or even put potato chips on your pasta… or include all the superfoods you want in your nutritious and delicious salad.

Heck, you can even customize your own milkshake or ice cream sandwich on that iPad! Then, it comes to life when they bring it out of the kitchen on onto your table… and it’s every bit as good as you imagined it would be when you were creating it!

Check out all the items I tried here, including candied bacon and a Cadbury Egg seasonal milkshake:

Check out new menu items in this one-minute video inside our media dinner!

Check out the new menu items in this one-minute video inside our media dinner!

To visit STACKED: Food Well Built, you can find all the info on their website. Stay tuned for a lot more foodie finds to come. Cheers!

New Restaurant Sneak Peek: SoCal Gets Its First Steak ‘N Shake

Get the inside scoop before anyone else on the first Steak 'n Shake to arrive in Cali. Dancing waiters, DIY eggnog-beer floats and more!

Get the inside scoop before anyone else in this video recap of the first Steak ‘n Shake to arrive in Cali. Dancing waiters, DIY eggnog-beer floats and more!

Midwest-to-L.A. transplants — or just about anyone who’s had the privilege of trying Steak ‘n Shake — will be happy to know that you don’t have to drive to Vegas to get your Steakburger and milkshake fix. There’s a new burger joint in town opening tomorrow, and it will mark the long-awaited arrival of the legendary 80-year-old burger chain from the Midwest.

I had the chance to attend the pre-opening party for Steak ‘n Shake earlier tonight, and we got to order anything and everything off their full menu while a DJ spun party tunes loud enough for the waiters and guests to break out into impromptu dance (see video above).

Having been to the Steak ‘n Shake located inside the Las Vegas South Point Hotel & Casino once before and enjoying it, I have to say that this Third Street Promenade location is a great one. It’s sleek and modern (with LED screens and a couple of those fancy billion-choice soda machines), but also retains that nostalgic diner vibe. The servers are friendly and fun-loving, and seem to really enjoy accommodating guests.

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

You can also dine al fresco, as the eatery occupies a prime corner location with patio seating on both sides. It’s a nice view of the Third Street Promenade and the iconic string lights in its trees.

Upon entering, you order at the counter and take a seat, then sit back and wait for them to bring your meal to you. It’s fast-casual, with the right amount of attentive service and do-it-yourself ordering.

We tried the Frisco Melt (my personal favorite!), Signature Steakburger and the Original Double ‘n Cheese. All of them were juicy and tasted fresh, from the vegetables to the bread.

We also tasted the chili cheese fries, parmesan herb and salt & vinegar fries, wine, beer and a cool, creamy seasonal eggnog milkshake. Talk about food coma!

Check it all out here (or in the one-minute video above):

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

The Steak ‘n Shake full menu with pricing, wine selection and beer on tap (click to enlarge)

 

Tanayas Table Steak n Shake Steakburger

The Signature Steakburger with grilled onions and parmesan & herb fries

 

Tanayas Table Steak n Shake Meal

Eggnog seasonal milkshake (it’s a winner!), red wine, Santa Monica Brew Works local beer, chili cheese fries and the Original Double ‘n Cheese burger

 

Tanayas Table Steak n Shake Steakburger inside

Inside the Signature Steakburger

Oh, by the way… the first 100 guests in line will get free Steak ‘n Shake for a year. The only Steak ‘n Shake in California opens its doors for its Grand Opening at 11 a.m. on 10/28 and is located at 1455 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, CA.

There may be a lot of great burger places in L.A. and even Santa Monica, but Steak ‘n Shake brings a friendly vibe and delicious, hearty yet fresh food in a modern yet nostalgic diner setting. It’s just more proof that all good things eventually come to Cali!

Check out the video above for all the action and stay tuned for a sneak peek at Ice Cream Lab, opening its doors later this week in Pasadena. Cheers!

Treatoberfest 2 With L.A. Foodie At Angel City Brewery

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Video: Crazy costumes, silly dancing with Sam & the L.A. Foodie guys, plus my dog Jellybean’s cameo in a rainbow wig.

This past weekend, my friend Sam and I spent the day hopping to 4 different Halloween events. This means we spent the day drawing weird looks from people since we walked around in costume all day.

If you’re wondering what we dressed as, here it is, plus you can see some dorky costumed dancing in the video above. It also goes with the theme of some other posts I’ve been doing, with the Sriracha Series!

Jelly Tanaya Sriracha Halloween costumes 2014

Our costumes. A clown and a bottle of Sriracha!

After visiting the Grand Central Market in costume to receive free small treats from an array of eateries such as Sticky Rice, Las Morelianas, Berlin Currywurst, Olio Pizzeria, Horse Thief BBQ and DTLA Cheese, we headed over to Treatoberfest 2, L.A. Foodie’s Halloween event featuring sweet treats from a variety of vendors. The video captures fun highlights, and here are the details:

One of my favorites was the sweet & spicy limited edition popcorn from Popsalot Gourmet Popcorn, called The Screamsicle. It had a unique flavor combination of blood orange, vanilla bean and ghost pepper, and really did taste like a spicy creamsicle in popcorn form. I also appreciated the festive references to Halloween in the ingredients. Blood orange, ghost pepper… so cheeky and clever!

The Screamsicle gourmet popcorn flavor from Popsalot. Complete with googly eyes!

The Screamsicle gourmet popcorn flavor from Popsalot… complete with googly eyes!

Other unique bites came from Chocolatier Blue, a gourmet chocolate maker all the way from Berkeley. They incorporated pumpkin, sage, root beer, rosemary and more into their various chocolate confections with creamy centers. Popsicle Culture had interesting flavors such as the L.A. spicy pineapple and the margarita pops.

Peddler’s Creamery also scooped frozen treats in the form of their bicycle-churned ice cream, whereas Sweet Spils ran out way early but we managed to snag a a couple of mini pumpkin chocolate cupcakes. The Kandy Jar served samples of their toffee and Angel City Brewery debuted their new seasonal beers on tap, for purchase.

We tried the Rum-Aged Mexican Cola, a medium-bodied brew with citrus peel, tamarind, vanilla bean and Mexican Coca-Cola aged six-months in a rum barrel. You can check it out, along all the other treats (plus dorky dancing courtesy of me, Sam and Ben & Drew from L.A. Foodie… and a cameo by my dog, Jellybean… in a rainbow wig) above.

Happy Halloween week from (15-year-old) Jellybean and me!

Jelly Tanaya Halloween Costumes 2014

Jellybean the Halloweenie dog!

More Halloween fun to come, including DIY projects straight from the set of Home & Family on the Universal Studios lot, and a couple of new opening sneak previews… of Steak ‘N Shake’s first California location and Ice Cream Lab’s Pasadena opening, to be exact! Stay tuned 🙂

 

VIDEO: The Taste of Mexico Media Preview Night

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

As summer winds down, one might think that food festivals are also on the decline. Well, that’s not the case here in Los Angeles, and a prime example of that is The Taste of Mexico, taking place on September 27 at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown. Last night, I had the opportunity to attend their media preview night to get the early scoop to share with you!

The festival, celebrating Mexican food, heritage and culture, was founded in 2010 and has grown exponentially over the past four years. For the first time, the food fair is expanding to include a daytime family brunch event in addition to its annual evening of food, drinks and dancing.

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Thanks for the torta education, Torta Company!

The Torta Co., part of the Lotería Grill family, served up a variety of tasty tortas, including ones with poblano peppers, Oaxacan cheese, breaded chicken cutlets, sirloin tips, a tuna melt and even a take on the PB & J!

Mezcal and tequila made for a festive evening, but my favorite were the Micheladas were served from Guelaguetza’s famous Miche Mobil. They were made with Montejo beer, a Mexican pale lager that debuted in the U.S. for the first time just a few weeks ago at Dodger Stadium. It was exciting to get a first taste, as it is slowly rolling out here in specific markets.

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

An array of colorful dessert samplings from Compañía de Café.

Another favorite of mine was from Yuca’s, which not only had a warm demeanor in serving us, but also had amazing food like the Nuevo Relleno, a Pasilla chile oozing with cheese and chunks of portobello mushroom. I soon after learned that Yuca’s is also a James Beard award-winning restaurant! Well-deserved, for sure.

Candela Taco Bar had a refreshing spinach & pineapple agua fresca, and Artesana Pops’ spinach & pineapple popsicles were another great take on the same fruit-and-veggie power couple.

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Mexikosher’s plate was diverse in texture and flavor.

Finally, “Chopped” champion and Season 12 “Top Chef: Boston” contender Katsuji Tanabe of Mexikosher served a big hunk of miso-marinated pastrami with figs, peaches and a habanero sauce. Check him out presenting his dish in the recap video below!

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Get a preview of the variety of Mexican fare you’ll find at Taste of Mexico!

There were many more tasty bites throughout the night, so check out the rest with the family or some friends on 9/27!

 

The 4th Annual Taste of Mexico essentials:

September 27, 2014 at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Farmers Market Family Picnic: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Dinner, Drinks and Dancing: 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.

 ¡Salud!

Celebrating National Hot Dog Month At DogHaus

Were you, by any chance, aware that July is National Hot Dog Month? After doing a little fact-checking, I found that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council even confirms this! It only makes sense, since summer is grilling season, right?

To celebrate, I had the opportunity to try DogHaus for the first time. I’d been meaning to try it for quite some time after hearing all the hype, so talk about perfect timing! DogHaus has even brought on chef and TV personality Adam Gertler as their Würstmacher, and I’d actually interviewed him back in 2012 (interview right here). This would be the first time I’d get to taste these creations… so naturally, all signs pointed to yes, let’s try this place already!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

DogHaus has multiple locations around Southern California, and just recently opened its first franchised location in Canoga Park. I visited DogHaus Biergarten, located in Old Town Pasadena, and found it to have a unique vibe and a great selection of craft brews and knowledgeable staff to go along with its innovative dogs.

Biergarten Manager Tony Pereyra is a jack of all trades, even lending his bartending and event coordination skills to the Biergarten location’s success. He and most of the staff have worked at the space even before DogHaus came into existence, about 3 years ago. Tony sat down to chat with us, and explained that the uniqueness of the spot lends itself to the location.

Since it’s a bit off the beaten path (you have to enter through a side alley– pretty cool!), and not in your typical nightlife-filled area, I had to ask why they stayed open until midnight or 2 a.m., depending on the night. Turns out, late weeknights become impromptu industry nights, as staff from surrounding restaurants have made DogHaus Biergarten their go-to late night spot to mingle after-hours.

Now that’s a cool story and all, you might say, but how is the actual food? Here’s the lowdown on these uber-cool hot dawgs:

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

The “One Night in Bangkok” Dog

The “One Night in Bangkok” is one for the adventurous flavor-seekers, and for those who like a bit of heat on their dogs. If you’re bored with the traditional hot dog, this baby is for you. The juicy Thai red currywurst packs a nice amount of heat. The cucumber kimchi relish adds acidity to cut through the heartiness of the meat, the richness of the creamy cilantro aioli, and the saltiness of the crunchy peanuts sprinkled atop the dog. There are definitely some amazing Asian flavors packed between those sweet Hawaiian buns!

As an added bonus, the staff can readily suggest drink pairings, as the food and beverage menus influence one another to stay on top of the latest food trends. Tony recommended an IPA with this spicy wurst, as the bitter earthiness and subtle spicy tones would complement the flavors in the food. “The hops in the beer cool down the palate,” he explained with excitement. “At the end of the day, it’s all about product knowledge.”

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

The “Sooo Cali” Dog

The “Sooo Cali” Dog has some classic SoCal flavors lying between those two signature Hawaiian bread buns. On this all-beef skinless dog, you’ll find fresh tomato and buttery avocado slices, along with an aromatic basil aioli and some fried onions for a nice crunch. This hot dog, being one of the originals since the first DogHaus location, has won awards from the likes of L.A. Weekly a couple years ago.

Just a few months ago, chef Michael Brown joined the DogHaus team. Just to give you an idea of his culinary chops: he’s been involved with Red O’s opening, and has also served as executive chef at Google and the Nike World Headquarters before heading to the DogHaus to become culinary director. I can’t wait to see what’s next on their ever-evolving menu the next time I’m in Pasadena!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

So much good stuff!

At this particular lunchtime feast, there were tater tots, French fries and coleslaw galore. So many sides, plus Tony insisted we try a couple happy hour items as well. So good! Let’s just say that if you came here a few times a week, every week, you still wouldn’t get bored anytime soon.

DogHaus Biergarten has late night happy hour from 10 p.m. to close, and Sundays truly are Sunday Fundays with an all-day, all-night happy hour. Happy hour favorites include the $1 burger sliders with white American cheese, caramelized onions and a dab of mayo (pictured above… and absolutely delicious).

The mini all-beef corndogs with a root beer and cornmeal batter are also a favorite come happy hour, along with great craft beers and more. You can check it all out here, or just stop by when you’re in the area. I definitely plan on going back soon, especially when I don’t feel like grilling in the heat!

Speaking of grilling season, some of my favorite toppings for DIY summer grilling include pickled red onions, sliced avocado with lime, Sriracha aioli, fruity Not Ketchup (so many great flavors!), or some good ol’ whole grain mustard with a zing. I’m always on the lookout for some interesting topping ideas, so if you have any go-to’s, feel free to holler. More summer finds to come!